Summer's right around the corner and for many a small business that means hiring seasonal help. That said, here are a few tips that can not only help you get the most out of your summer hires, but also make sure your business processes don't miss a beat...
- Know the Minimum Wage in Your Jurisdiction. Paying fairly is not only the right thing to do, but doing so will also keep your business in good standing. The minimum wage can vary by country, state or province. It can even vary by job (though that's pretty unique). For example, in the United States, the Federal minimum wage is $7.25. But in the state of Washington, it's $9.19.
- Take Care of Paperwork on Day One. Say you hire a university student for the summer. Things go great, then he or she goes back to school. But then, at the end of your fiscal year, you need him or her to fill out a bunch of forms for tax purposes. Tracking them down, while certainly possible, might be difficult. So be sure to square away all the paperwork you can on day one of their hire.
- Define the Hire. Are you hiring summer help as contractors? Part-time employees? Full-time employees? Defining your hires will have financial, tax and liability implications. (And of course, it'll have paperwork implications.)
- Have a Plan. You're hiring summer help to do just that: help! But with what? If you don't know, neither will they. And the "What do you need me to do?" question will get real old, real fast. If you need a summer hire to staff the cash register, make that his or her job. If your storefront could use some sprucing up, make landscaping your summer hire's job. The point is, hiring summer help just to "help out" can sometimes lead to wasted time and idleness. Know exactly what you're hiring for.
- Build in Accountability. The days of clocking in and out are long gone, but you should still have a system that gives summer hires the ability to track their time. There are a number of web-based software products that make this easy.
- Have the Capacity. On the surface, summer hires may just seem like an expense line item. But in reality, there's a lot that you need consider, both financially and procedurally. You're accounting software can help you understand whether or not you have the capacity to pay for summer help. And on top of that, you should get a complete understanding of the tax ramifications of hiring summer help. Lastly, consider the ramp up considerations. For a summer hire to be valuable, you'll need to spend some time getting them up to speed, familiar with systems, customers, etc.